The term “sustainability” has become a buzzword of our modern society. An empty phrase, being overused in marketing, media and politics with no actual meaning. Sounds good but nothing worth. It’s one of those terms with a very fluffy concept and you probably have as many different interpretations of it as you would ask a certain number of people. I mean, answer to yourself this question: what the heck means sustainability to you? Well, you are here because you want to learn more about it, right?
You might say right now – so hey, you guys at Economadia also use this term and actually claim it as one of your columns, so you should know any better, ain’t ya?
Well maybe we should. But maybe we are also just students of this world and this life and cannot have the answer to this overarching question. So what we are going to have here is to approach this term in our terms.
There could be a pretty simple answer to it which would be: sustainability, living sustainable, means that we live in a way that the next generation has the same chances and resources available as we do. Will they have it if we go on living the way we currently do?
Without wanting to go nor into a Fridays-for-future-climate-debate neither to play the role of a self-proclaimed moralizer, the clear answer is NO to the above question. Everything is fucked up and there nothing we can do from the world slowly but surely going down the drains.
Well okay, let’s not be too negative, however, the problem often is: do enough people really care about it? The clear answer is unfortunately the same – yet.
Are we living in a way that the next generation has the say chances as we do?
Do enough people really care about it?
However, as so often, simple answers are tending to do what they actually do: to oversimplify.
YOU ARE NOT LIVING SUSTAINABLY JUST BY SORTING YOUR TRASH
With the term “sustainability” many people associate it to living environmentally consciously. The thing is: just because you sort your trash into plastic, paper, metallic waste and whatever not or having a few square meters of garden that you maintain in front of your apartment is by far not making you someone who lives sustainable. It is nice when you can afford this luxury (yes, it is a certain kind of luxury) and actually get your ass off doing so.
Yes, it takes the little extra mile, the plus of consciousness to focus on something that often is not directly rewarded.
With the term “sustainability” many people think of environmental aspects
I don’t mean to express here that one is a better person just because someone happens to take care of the environment. And when those people sometimes take it a bit too far by behaving self-righteous and being the party pooper about that is definitely not sustainable either and lot less will you make any friends with that. I know, other people prefer to put their focus on football results or mobile phone calling plans.
SUSTAINABILITY STARTS WITH YOURSELF
In the basic work frame of Economadia it all starts with you being good to yourself and treating yourself in a decent and respectful way. Especially when you are location independent it is quite challenging to keep a healthy balance between your online and your offline life. Only when you do good to yourself, treat and respect yourself in a proper manner, chances are you treat others around you in the same way. What I mean is that you take times off from the screen, don’t use your mobile phone already in bed in the morning when you are not yet really awake or you do a decent effort to meet some new people.
You probably had already both scenarios in life: the one where you are in a flow, you feel good, attractive and everything is easy-breezy falling into place right at the time when needed. And then the opposite one where nothing seems to work out, everything feels heavy, somehow wrong and unreal to you. Relationships don’t come easy and you wake up in the morning wondering what you are doing in life. Most of us know both scenarios.
Flow experience vs. hard times: most of us know both those times.
So it is about your personal psychological health and well-being, your psychological sustainability that makes you as a human being function. You waking up in the morning and having the feeling that there is a meaning in your life to actually get up for. Some call it your Ikigai. To have something or someone to believe in, “a reason for being”. Something that gives you energy and makes you dynamic instead of weary and depressed.
In the next instance follows the social sustainability. That is that we are embedded in some setting of community that we trust, to which we are able to receive and to give, something which is bigger than just you alone. This can be your family, your colleagues from work, a good circle of friends; anything that you keep having a good and secure relationship with. Also a partner can be a very powerful and energy giving source. In our Economadia terms, this is the strong and resilient community that is able to host all of its members in the future global village of the 21st century. You know, the one we are envisioning to have in reality one day.
When these two levels, the psychological and the social sustainability are provided to a sufficient degree which makes you feel secure and confident enough, we can then actually look into the third type, the ecological sustainability. Here it is about environmental protection, taking care of your own behavior, proactively taking unselfish action (arguable if that actually exists) for the sake of saving resources, producing less carbon and looking ridiculously handsome when doing so.
Economadia sustainability formula:
psychological sustainability + social sustainability = environmental sustainability
START WITH COMMUNITY – IN REAL LIFE
So the point is: when speaking about sustainability people get very easy into this ecological sustainability which again is of course noble to pursue. However, it doesn’t lead us anywhere if we end up living in a big grey block of buildings in whatever city, all of us on our own, sorting our trash into different bins.
Yeah, we might live ecologically more sustainable or at least we believe doing so. Yet, we stay behind with an inner emptiness that many of us are feeling nowadays. This is the very reason why the creation of real life communities has priority for us and also is what we proactively promote.